The sun started to shine a little bit on Friday as we devoted the day to the Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence AOP.
Our first visit was to the stunning Villa Baulieu – just a twenty drive north west of Aix. Situated in an extinct volcano crater, this beautiful property has been completely renovated and the vineyards reinvigorated.
The net result is a magnificent five star hotel that combines traditional (and original) furniture with some striking modern art.
The Villa Baulieu labels comprises top class whites and reds, while the Chateau Beaulieu is their rosé label.
Emanuel, the hotel manager, showed us round the hotel and gardens which were truly stunning.
Nadine, the estate export manager, then hosted an exquisite tasting in the cellar which really showed off the quality of their wines and revealed that there is so much more to Provence than the pink stuff.
Following a walk through the rose garden and the tailored box hedges, we took lunch in a beautiful room overlooking the gardens. As we luxuriated with four courses and accompanying wines, the sun shone brighter….
From Baulieu, we had a 45 minute powernap opportunity before arriving at Domaine Richeaume. Set up in 1972 by German ex pat Henning Hoesch who was a professor in Canonical Law in Harvard as well as being a classical cellist, this estate has become renowned for top quality reds. We were hosted by Henning himself and the visit commenced with a delightful walk that ended with a glass of rose on a beautiful terrace that nestled into the side of the hill overlooking the natural amphitheatre of vineyards.
Back to the cellar and we tasted through an exceptional range of Syrah, Cab Sauv, Carignan as single varieties followed by their exceptional blends.
A delightful experience and a pleasure to meet Henning Hoesch.